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Down Memory Lane: 25 Years On! PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 May 2011 21:43
Halesowen Town 6 Warrington Town 3 – FA Vase Semi-Final Replay
Halesowen Town teased, tormented and tortured their vast following at Telford before presenting them with another glittering Wembley prize. An amazing 6-3 semi-final replay victory over Warrington Town swept the FA Vase holders to their third Wembley final appearance in four seasons. But the bruising, battling men from Cheshire were finally sunk only when they made the fatal mistake of trying to play Halesowen at their own game.
Warrington had drawn the original semi-final legs by hustling, bustling and knocking Halesowen out of their stride and cancelled out early goals from Mark Lacey and Geoff Moss at 2-2. This time they played their best football of the 300-minute tie in the second-half and paid dearly as twins Lee and Paul Joinson found time and space to show off their devastating goalscoring talents.
Paul brilliantly rounded off the best move of a crazy contest by cheekily clipping home a return pass from skipper John Woodhouse in the 62nd minute. Then Lee put the finishing touches to a couple of perfect passes from his brother.
Even at that 5-3 stage, Warrington’s Gordon Hunter had the ideal opportunity to fire the North West Counties side back into the game but hit a penalty over the bar and Don Smith ended the agony two minutes later to turn the Wembley dream to reality.
Halesowen Town: Caldicott; Moore, Sherwood, Lacey, Randle, Heath, Penn, Moss, Woodhouse, P. Joinson, L, Joinson. Sub: Smith.
 
Halesowen Town 3 Southall 0 – FA Vase Final  - 26th April 1986
 
Honest Halesowen Town retained the FA Vase at Wembley, but held an inquest into their below-par performance.
Paddy Page’s men have set such high standards that they are no longer satisfied by merely achieving the right result. It speaks volumes for their character and resilience that without ever moving into top gear, they still won 3-0 in front of the country’s sixth biggest attendance of the day.
If the players took a self-critical approach though, few of the 18,340 crowd, lopsided to the point of embarrassment at ten-to-one in Halesowen’s favour, seemed to mind.
Although Geoff Moss gave Halesowen an interval lead with his 35th minute header, the Londoners should have cashed in on three first-half suicide attempts by Town’s jittery defence.
But the real turning points came in a 25-minute period of Southall pressure in the second period. An apparent equaliser was ruled offside against Paul Sweales and then man-of-the-match Alan Pemberton made a magnificent 69th minute save, diving to keep out Roland Pierre’s flying header.
Six minutes later, Halesowen were at last able to breathe easily as Lee Joinson’s angled shot struck the near post and bounced in off Rob Holland. The under-rated Moss, often over-shadowed by the free-scoring Joinson twins, forced home no. 3 on 77 minutes for his 22nd goal of the season.
Mark Lacey did a splendid steadying job at the back, while Mark Penn, who started the season as a full-back, confirmed his emergence as a quality midfielder.
Paddy Page admitted: “It was a bit scrappy, but the result is the important thing”. Skipper John Woodhouse added: “We felt a bit flat after the game. Having been to Wembley twice before, we really wanted to turn it on, but that never happened.”
Halesowen Town: Pemberton; Moore, Sherwood, Lacey, Randle, Heath, Penn, Moss, Woodhouse, P. Joinson, L. Joinson. Sub: Rhodes.
Press Coverage
Halesowen came to a halt yesterday morning when thousands lined the town’s streets to celebrate the return of the FA Challenge Vase for a second successive year. A record crowd of 18,340, over 15,000 of them from Halesowen, saw Geoff Moss (35th and 76th minutes) and Lee Joinson (75) destroy Southall in an enterprising final at Wembley.
Secretary Harry Rudge, who joined the club in 1937 and who managed the team for 15 years, said “We will apply for Southern League status again this year. They are doing themselves a disservice by not accepting us for the last two seasons”. Halesowen are currently heading for their fourth successive West Midlands Regional League Championship. With attendances regularly approaching 1,000, Halesowen are easily the best supported club beneath the upper levels of non-League’s pyramid structure. (Source: Daily Telegraph, 28th April 1986)
A few weeks later it was announced that Southern League football would be played at the Grove the following season and work would begin to level the pitch and improve facilities.
David Johnson, April 2011
 
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